The Fertiliser Database Stakeholder Consultative Committee has held its latest meeting, to receive an update on the development of the National Fertiliser Database, which is anticipated to be in place at the start of 2023.
Establishment of this database will be critical to facilitating timely farmer payments under Ireland’s proposed Eco-Scheme. It will also allow Ireland to meet its commitments to the European Commission arising from the 5th Nitrates Action Programme, published in March 2022, and the extension of Ireland’s Nitrates Derogation, also granted earlier this year.
The proposed database will provide reliable data back to farmers, which they can use to ensure their compliance with the limits set out in the Nitrates Regulations and can be used to qualify for possible voluntary industry sustainability initiatives that will reward farmer actions.
Speaking after the meeting, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, T.D. said, “My objective for this Committee is to facilitate communication with relevant stakeholders, and to obtain their views and suggestions as we develop a practical system for data gathering and sharing. I thank the Committee for their valuable contributions received today.”
The Minister continued by saying, “The draft Heads of the Bill was approved by Cabinet on the 12th of July and will now undergo Pre-Legislative Scrutiny under the legislative process. I am seeking to identify how the associated IT system will work best in a simple manner for all stakeholders involved.”
The National Fertiliser Database will record fertiliser sales and allow farmers account for closing stock on-farm at the end of the fertiliser spreading season. It will also allow farmers view their own fertiliser data on the Department’s online portal www.agfood.ie
Note for editors:
The proposed National Fertiliser Database will record fertiliser sales. In Year 1 farmers will declare their opening stock on-farm. Fertiliser sales data will be captured on the Fertiliser Sales Database and farmers will be able to declare closing stock at the end of the spreading season. This will allow them to record their overall fertiliser use accurately and easily during the year.
Information on the database will primarily be entered by persons selling fertiliser. Farmers will have the option to view and download their data if they wish.
Establishing the database will be critical to minimising the reporting burden on farmers who choose to participate in the proposed Eco-Scheme actions relating to fertiliser or the use of lime. The database will also reduce the existing reporting burden for farmers availing of the Nitrates Derogation.
To inform the process of developing the National Fertiliser Database, the Department established the Consultative Committee in April 2022. The Consultative Committee consists of all stakeholders involved in the distribution and use of fertiliser. It consists of representatives from:
- Fertiliser industry (importers, manufacturers, wholesalers)
- Fertiliser retailers - co-ops and independent agri-merchants
- Farming organisations and farm contractors
- Farm advisers (Teagasc and the Agricultural Consultants Association)
The Cabinet meeting on the 12th of July approved the draft Heads of the Veterinary Medicinal Products Medicated Feed and Fertilisers Regulation Bill 2022. It will now proceed to Pre-Legislative Scrutiny through the Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and Marine. The proposed legislation required to underpin the database is expected to be finalised by the end of this year.
National Fertiliser Database webpage is available at: National Fertiliser Database (www.gov.ie)
Draft Heads of the Bill are available at:gov.ie - General Scheme of the Veterinary Medicinal Products, Medicated Feed and Fertilisers Regulation Bill 2022 (www.gov.ie)